The Lych Gate


The Lych Gate

The lych-gate makes a picturesque entrance to St John's Churchyard. 

The word 'lich' or 'lych' is our modern form of the anglo-saxon 'lic', meaning a 'corpse' and the lich-gate was built for the sheltering of the bier as the priest performed the introductory part of the Burial Service. 

 It was dedicated on December 30th 1900 and is found at the northwest entrance set there by Mr R.D Radcliffe in memory of his parents. 

The History of the Gate

The Gate has particular historic interest as it is made of oak timbers from an old house in Finch Lane, West Derby known as 'Boltons' (demolished 1897). The arch of the canopy of the high table is incorporated in the gateway, together with other features from the original building. 

Boltons was the oldest house in West Derby, built around 1400. The wood is believed to be Croxteth oak and is over 600 years old. The cost of labour to build this, due to the toughness of the wood, was at the time £400 - in today's terms (2019) that equates to the considerable sum of approximately £48,750 (based on equivalent purchasing power). 

The builder was James Wainwright of Huyton and the carpenter, Samuel Woods of Old Swan. 

The inscription on the gate reads: 

(Facing the road)

'Grant, O Lord, that through the grave and gate of death we may rise to our joyful resurrection.

This gate made mostly of oak from Bolton's, Finch Lane, built MCCCC(1400), pulled down MDCCCXCVII (1897),  is set here by R. D Radcliffe, MDCCCC(1900).

Pro hoc memento mei Domine. Concerning this, remember me, O Lord.'

(Facing the church)

'In affectionate memory of Richard Radcliffe and Anne, his wife, on whose souls may God have mercy.

Peace to those who enter. Well-being to those who depart.'